Home Annie's Home Renovation Ahoy!
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I am embarking on a bittersweet journey that I had not anticipated. Some of you may have followed my post-divorce, monthly house makeover project in House Beautiful in 2010. I made the transition from a 5,000-square-foot, 1880s shingle-style house to a midcentury modern “ranch burger,” as Steven Drucker called it.

Court Hill Farm—this was home from 2001 until 2009. It was a wonderful, if enormous, house, with an extraordinary view. Its eight bedrooms gave me lots of opportunities to play house, make beds, and feel like a real grown-up with a grown-up house. It played an important role in my life and in my business.

With help from dear friend and fabulous architect John Gilmer, I got that ranch burger all the fixin’s, just the way I liked them.  Above you see the exterior and below Emmet in his midcentury modern yard.

Then my world got rocked. On May 21st, 2011, I found my beloved mother dead in her bed, her faithful dog, Lucky, meeting me at the door with one of her gardening sneakers in his mouth.

I have had a running dialogue with myself and others about whether or not I should take this on. I have a house that I just finished. Will the house forever remind me of finding my mother? Will I be up to the task of maintaining her garden? I want to change the house—is that disrespectful of her choices? The list goes on and on and in circles, and then on and on and in circles again! In the end, I couldn’t stand the idea of someone buying the house and ignoring the tremendous garden. And I would know—the house is only 1/4 mile up the road from mine!  So, finally, I decided  that I couldn’t let Mum’s house go. I want and I need to watch her garden grow.

My mother, Googie Emmet, was, among many other things, a Master Gardener. She built wonderful gardens in each of the houses we lived in. She knew the Latin name for every plant, she read extensively on the subject of gardens (her library is amazing), she visited as many notable gardens as she could, distilling all this into schemes for her own gardens. Above is a winter view from the back of the house and below are some hellebores now blooming in a bed in front of the house.

I mourn the loss of Mum not only physically but in all the connections we shared—and there were/are many. My love of color, pattern, architecture, rugs, travel, food, clothing, people, books all originated with her. ( I credit my father with my sense of humor and irreverence.) It is through these connections, all gifts that she gave me, really, that I am keeping her alive in my heart and mind.

A picture of Mum and my father on their wedding day lies amid family photos.  Clearing out the house and the wrapping up of a life  has been nearly a yearlong endeavor for me and my brothers, Criss and Will. It’s emotionally draining work that you can only do so much of before you have to take a break and walk away.

Just when you think you can’t stand winter any longer or that your sadness is unshakable, you spy the mini yet mighty snowdrop, signaling to one and all that life is full of, and one could add defined by, new beginnings.

 

 

To celebrate this new journey you’re embarking on with me, I put together a special giveaway package of some of our most exciting, sail-themed Dash & Albert and Pine Cone Hill products. One lucky reader will win an 8.5’ x 11” Catamaran Stripe Sprout/Ivory indoor/outdoor rug,  a Fisher Ticking woven cotton tote bag, a Blue Awning woven cotton throw, two Blue Awning 20” x 20”  pillows, and a Sonia Kaftan valued at nearly $800! Just leave a comment on this post below, and we’ll notify the winner by e-mail on May 10, 2012.
The giveaway starts on Monday, May 7, and runs until 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 9. (View the full rules here.)

Congratulations to our winner, Kim B. from Minnesota!

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166 comments

L Weber May 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

What an amazing lovely tribute… I have loved following your transition to a smaller home, a ranch, because I did the same thing recently. And I look forward to your future updates… Thanks, Annie.

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Annie Selke May 8, 2012 at 2:20 am

Thank you for your lovely comment. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Xo, Annie

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Jamie May 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

Bravo, Annie! I think this will be such a tribute to your mom! I cannot wait to see photos of her gardens in bloom. I wish you all the best as you take on this endeavor to make her house yours – and honor her spirit! Thanks for the opportunity to win some fabulous items!
Jamie

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Annie Selke May 8, 2012 at 2:22 am

I hope you win the contest!
Xo

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Michelle May 7, 2012 at 11:56 am

Your story has hit a familiar chord with me. I too had to embark on renewing a home that my Mother lived in for well over 40 years. It was an honor to release items of hers to other relatives and to keep many, many precious childhood memories. A loving and heartfelt story you brought and just in time for Mother’s Day. I look forward to seeing the “new beginnings” of the home and your life, Annie. Enjoy the journey and we all will enjoy it with you.
Michelle

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Thanks, Michelle.

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Lee Nicholson May 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Beautiful post and such sweet and thoughtful words as tribute to your Mother. Her gardens are gorgeous! Your generosity is also so heartwarming as you move forward on this journey. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
Lee

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Annie Selke May 8, 2012 at 2:25 am

Stay tuned on the garden , it’s just starting to wake up.
Thank you for your comment.that poem was included in my mother’s service. I had to write as I was too choked up to speak:(

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Claire May 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Thankyou for sharing this new journey you are about to embark on. Your mom will be with you every moment. Enjoy!

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Kathleen May 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Annie, I most admire you for your desire to continue to evolve and try new things and places. It is also warm and most sentimental that you speak of your mom and shre things with her. I love your ideas and outlook on your creations; please keep them original as you have so far.

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Kathleen May 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Annie, I most admire you for your desire to continue to evolve and try new things and places. It is also heartwarming and most sentimental that you speak of your mom and share things with her. I love your ideas and outlook on your creations. Please continue to keep them fresh and original as you have done so far.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I appreciate your support Kathleen.

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Suzannah May 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Wow, Annie! I can’t wait to follow along on this journey with you. I can’t believe it’s been a year…All of Googie’s gardens have had the chance to grow full cycle. Now it’s your turn! Best of luck and lots of love. xo.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks. I will admit to being intimidated by the garden! My goal is first – do no harm and I ‘ll take it from there…

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Trish May 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Much strenght to you as you embark on this new journey.

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Rosa May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Annie, I just loved this article. My three brothers, three sisters and I had the honor of being with our Mom when she passed. My heart goes out to you. I think that your decision to live in your Mother’s house is a wonderful tribute to her. I’m sure she would love the changes you will make… After all, you are her daughter! with kindest regards, Rosa

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Sniff… Still I get overwhelmed by sadness. Thanks for posting.

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Betsy May 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

What a beautiful post and tribute to your mother. I loved reading your House Beautiful articles every month and look forward to reading this blog to see how you tweak your mother’s home. Please share picture of her lovely garden as the year goes on please.

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Betsy May 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm

What a beautiful post and tribute to your mother. I loved reading your House Beautiful articles every month and look forward to reading this blog to see how you tweak your mother’s home. Please share picture of her lovely garden as the year goes on.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I plan to have plenty of posts about the garden. Thanks for following.
xo

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Pam May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

This is lovely, personal tribute to your dear mother. Hard to read with tears in my eyes. Thinking about life in the Berkshires, my mom Susan, her many friends, including Googie. Feeling so sad (and yes, guilty) that I wasn’t able to keep her house in Interlaken/Stockbridge, but lucky to have found new owners who felt the love and magic my parents created there.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thanks for your lovely comment. Those pesky tears do get in your eyes, don’t they?

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Jessica Dougherty May 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

So lovely! And what a beautiful collection of giveaway items. Thank you for the chance to enter!

Jessica Dougherty
info(at)funkyfinds(dot)com

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Kathy May 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Lovely post — the gardens will be a wonderful reminder of your mom!

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Mary May 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I haven’t followed your earlier posts (though I am a LONG time Pine Cone Hill and Dash & Albert aficionado!), but will follow this journey — can’t wait to see where it takes you.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for being a PCH and Dash fan and for joining me on this journey!

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birdie blue May 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm

i’m so sorry to read about the loss of your mother. your essay at the top of the post, brought tears to my eyes. though the ones we know may leave life, in our memory, the love we know will always carry on.

xo
molly

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thanks, Molly. I know that poem was the best way I knew to express my feelings in the days after Mum’s death. It makes me cry every time I read it :(, too.

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Rachael May 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Dear Annie,
It is so thoughtful of you to share your life’s journeys with us! Loosing your mother must have been very difficult as I imagine I feel the same for my father as you do about your mother. I wish you the best with her home, I know you will make it beautiful! I can’t wait for an update as spring becomes in full bloom! Good luck with everything!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Thanks, Rachel.

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Adele good May 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Beautiful tribute to your Mother . She must have been an extraordinary women – I suppose like all mothers in some way . Truly a gift to be able to live & continue her vision in her home – now yours. Best wishes . I will enjoy future updates as your “new” home continues to evolve !

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hi Adele,
She was amazing in so many ways – flawed in others (aren’t we all?) but that is what adds texture to life. Thanks for posting.

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Cindy May 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm

This was a very moving tribute. I am in the middle of frustrations from having a mother with early Alzheimers disease. I miss so much the way she used to be, and like you treasure all the gifts she shared with me. Our mothers do teach us so much, don’t they?

I have watched your company grow, have long been a fan of Pine Cone Hill, and of course Dash and Albert. I was amazed with the transformation of your rancher and can’t wait to follow along with this new endeavor. You are a woman of ambition, drive and now, I can also admire your compassion and heart. I will remember this post for a long time.

Sure, I’d love to win these items, who wouldn’t? And I can already know just where to add them to my little St Simons Island beach cottage, but, you have certainly already gifted your readers with these lovely words. Thank you, Annie.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Oh, I can only imagine how hard it must be to loose your mother bits at a time. I am grateful that I never had to watch my mother go through what you are dealing with. I wish you strength, patience and encourage you to enjoy your time with your mother.
XO

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Debra May 7, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Good luck on your journey. You’re so talented – I know you’ll create a space that you’ll love and find comfort in!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Thanks, Debra.

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Julie May 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Thank you for sharing your story about your Mum. It will be six years on May 9th since my Mom died. I don’t think we ever stop missing them. They taught us so much.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi Julie,
Do you do anything special, different to honor your mother’s memory on the anniversary of her death? Just curious. I am wondering what is going to feel right on that day……
Annie

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gail kent May 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

amazing how a split second can change so much in our lives-the loss of a dearly loved one is very difficult-the first year is so many firsts to get through-thank God you can keep her home and gardens-you will do an amazing job-

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for your comment. It’s crazy how so much can change so quickly – I suppose for the good and the bad?

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Susanne Stewart May 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Losing a family member is so hard, especially a parent. My mother died when I was 7 and so I don’t have all the wonderful memories you have. The old pictures are great! I have some of my parents and they make them real to me after all of this time. I am looking forward to seeing what you do with this and I know it will honor your mom, while becoming your own 🙂

Susanne

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Hi Susanne,
I do feel very fortunate to have had Mum well into my adult life and that she could have a meaningful relationship with my daughter Charlotte.
Thanks for posting.
Annie

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Felicia Sharples May 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

What a wonderful post – and so very personal. I have loved Annie Selkie for years – and couldn’t wait for each issue of House Beautiful to see what was new in your home. Your fabrics, your love of color, your beautifully classic design inspire me.

We have recently relocated from IL to MD – back to the east coast and closer to family. Because of the real estate market, we have lost a substantial amount of money over the past two years, which brought us to our current home – a true fixer upper, vintage 1980, much smaller home. While I protested so much, I knew in my heart it was the right decision for our family. My kids are still protesting – and not loving doors that don’t close, the mauve kitchen sink surround, and the folding door on their bathroom that doesn’t totally close – but they are starting to settle in.

We look forward to redoing each and every room and look forward to seeing what our garden brings this summer and each season to come. Good luck to you Annie as you begin your new adventure. We are never quite prepared for what life experiences may come – but what wisdom we gain from them.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Good luck with your transformation, too. I learned small is beautiful. I think a brief google tour for your kids of what people in the third world live with every day might make them appreciate what they have! It’s all about perspective.
Thanks for posting.
Annie

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Vikki May 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Very sorry for your loss. I think that taking on the house will only comfort you with the many good memories, and you will at the same time be making memories of your own. Best wishes as you move forward.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Thanks, VIkki.

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Chris May 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. My sister and I transformed my grandmother’s house after she passed but I feel her joyful spirit every time I visit my sister in her new home! May you find peace, beauty and your Mother’s spirit in your new journey.

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Tara Consolati May 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I’m so sorry to read about the passing of your mother. I knew her through my many visits to the home store, but now that you’ve moved up to Pittsfield, I don’t get in there as often. And I don’t know if I ever told you that years ago, when I lived in Lenox, I used to take my Golden Retriever to the boat ramp at Stockbridge Bowl almost every summer morning to throw her frisbie in for her. I would often see the same gentleman there with his Golden and the two dogs would play together, while I enjoyed listening to his stories. Many times, he would speak very proudly of his daughter and her growing business and one day it clicked that he was speaking of you! I couldn’t wait to tell him that I had your bedding (at that time, it was really mostly quilts and sheet sets) in every room of my house (and one quilt hanging on a foyer wall!). Anyway, I know a lot of times, we (as parents) don’t gush enough to our children about how proud we are of them, but don’t hesitate to brag to perfect strangers…if that was the case with you, you can rest assured that he was beaming with pride!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Thanks Tara.

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Kelly S May 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Such a beautiful post….I wish you well on your journey. Godspeed….

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Amy May 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Thank You for sharing your story and your beautiful words to your Mother. I’m certain your new Journey will help heal your heart as well as honor your memories of Mum.

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Lacey R May 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

As I read your post, I was gripped by the events that you have experienced and the loss of your mother. I hope you find peace in tending her garden and watching it grow and flourish each year. My grandma had a green thumb like no other and her house was brimming with countless plants, flowers, shrubs, etc. inside and out! Her windowsills were always filled with baby food jars containing new starts–as if she needed more. But, she loved to nurture life. It makes me smile to cut fresh lilac, snowball, and peony bouquets from my yard every Spring, because they were all starts given to me by my Grandma when we bought our home. I miss her, but so, so many memories and her wisdom live on!
I’ll be following your blog thanks to Erin of House of Turquoise. I came to know and love (and pin on my pinterest wish list) several Dash & Albert & Pine Cone Hill home goods also thanks to her and her blog. Love your style!!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I loved meeting Erin in LA a few months ago. She is not only talented, but a sweetie, too. Thanks for posting.

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Angie May 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Sorry to hear of your loss. It must be difficult. What a wonderful way you are honoring her by breathing new life into her house and maintaining her memory through her gardens.
I’ve admired your products for years and am glad to find your blog via house of turquoise.
Have a good week.
Angie

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thanks. Angie. House of Turquoise rocks!

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Jill May 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm

You are doing a wonderful thing, by keeping your mum alive through your memories of her. Time heals all wounds it just may not seem like it right now. Your work is beautiful and creative. Continue your great work!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thanks, Jill.

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Jennifer May 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm

What a beautiful and touching tribute to your mother. I am sorry for you loss, but grateful that you shared all of the special qualities about her with your readers. I loved each and every chapter of the “Ranch Burger” redesign, enjoyed all of your design and construction tips, and I look forward to reading each and every post of you new blog. Best wishes for wonderful discoveries ahead.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm

It’s a pretty extensive renovation, so stay tuned. I’m learning a ton about construction!

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Teri Morrison May 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Thank you for sharing such a personal post! I look forward to following you on your journey!

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Dorothy May 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm

What a moving tribute to your mother. I’ve been through the loss of my own mother and I will always miss her. I think you know when a project such as yours is simply something you have to do. Good for you. And thank you for the generous giveaway.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks, Dorothy!

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Stacy Murdock May 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Best wishes on your new chapter in life. Wonderful gifts and memories from your mother to help you through. I love Dash & Albert and Pine Cone Hill.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for being a fan of Dash and Pine Cone HIll, Stacy. We appreciate it!

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Sarah T May 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Oh my land this would be a DREAM win-I love everything and we just bought a new…old 1942 house! What a fun treat this would be!
Thanks for the chance

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Sarah T May 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Daughter hit sub,it. Thank you for sharing your story, love this blog site!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Good luck! I love houses from the 1940’s! Generally they are really well built. What style is it?

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Laura May 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm

What a touching tribute. Looking forward to reading more on your blog.

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Tasha May 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I found your site through the House of Turquoise site. I did not expect to be so touched by your blog entry about your mother. She clearly was an interesting and special person. Thank you for being so honest and continued luck with the house!

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Candace May 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s home and your plans to keep and lovingly curate your mother’s home and garden with your own style. The changes that you make are in so many ways an extension of your mother and will not take away from who she was or what she loved, for you are but an extension of her — and all that you love and value — her garden, your exuberant taste, the love of family and strong sense of place — all are be a monument to your mother. My own mother had that same influence on me as well. After she was gone, I realized that a sense of place and a love of beauty in my home had great power to sustain me, and I hope that it will do the same for you.

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Candace May 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s home and your plans to keep and lovingly curate your mother’s home and garden with your own style. The changes that you make are in so many ways an extension of your mother and will not take away from who she was or what she loved, for you are but an extension of her — and all that you love and value — her garden, your exuberant taste, the love of family and strong sense of place — all are a monument to your mother. My own mother had that same influence on me as well. After she was gone, I realized that a sense of place and a love of beauty in my home had great power to sustain me, and I hope that it will do the same for you.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I appreciate your words so much. Thanks. Candace.

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Mary May 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Can’t wait to follow your story. Thanks for sharing! My family will be moving to a new house and city soon and I will definitely check in for some house inspiration.

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Stephanie May 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I am sorry for the loss of your dear mother. I am blessed to still have my mother nearby but can relate to losing a home last year that held so many special memories. May we cherish those memories forever and look to them for inspiration in making new ones!

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The Zadge May 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your mother! My father just passed away last month and I am converting my detached 1896 horse stable/garage into a photo/art studio and naming it after him to honor him!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I am sorry for your loss and wish you the best with your project. Send pictures!

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Cynthia May 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm

What a beautiful tribute.

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Carolyn Robards May 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Your mother sounded like an amazing woman.. Thank you for sharing this with us. 🙂

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Jenn May 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Gardeners, especially “mother gardeners,” are so very wise. Peace & blessings.

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Cathy May 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

So sorry for your loss and your difficult decision about your Mom’s home. I believe tending to her gardens and changing the home to suit you would likely delight your Mom, and will most certainly help you as you grieve her loss. I am coming up on the 10 year anniversary of my own mother’s death and while I have things that remind me of her, there is nothing like the cycle of life in a garden to bring beauty and hope to something so difficult as the loss of your mother.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Thanks, Cathy. I walk through the garden and hear her talking about each of the plants and their attributes and issues and hope that I can remember them all!!

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j May 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Beautiful items…would love to add them to my home!

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Debra Lee May 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm

What a lovely giveaway. I have been wanting a Dash & Albert rug for the longest time!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Good luck!

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Madelyn May 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. Her garden will surely continue to flourish under your guidance and care. What a wonderful way to keep her with you and celebrate her life every day of yours.

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Kate Perkins May 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Annie- The Berkshires are full of so many ghosts. I visit with my father every summer and can only begin to fathom the journey you Chris and Will are embarking on. Love to all and hope to catch a glimpse of you next summer.
Kate

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for posting honey! Please call a week or so before you head to the Berkshires so we can find some time.
XOo

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Diane Y May 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

I have several of your fabrics in my family room and they make me smile every time I see them. Thank you for that too!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I love that my fabrics make you smile! It’s important to have things around you that make you happy.

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Catherine May 7, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I just came across your blog this evening. I am a huge Pine Cone Hill and Dash and Albert fan, so I will be following your blog from now on! Good luck to you on the next chapter of your life and thank you for the opportunity to win such a fabulous giveaway package!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hi Catharine, thanks for following and for being a fan. Keep your eyes peeled for other fab giveaways!

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Heather May 8, 2012 at 12:03 am

I am a new reader, but look forward to seeing how you move forward through change and loss. I too have walked down this road with my in-laws who we lost within 60 days of one another. Blessings to you…

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Blessings back to you, Heather.

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Cammee May 8, 2012 at 12:07 am

My dad is wanting to buy his mother’s home, it has been in the family for 3 generations, my grandmother was born there. It’s definitely hard to imagine someone else in the home. I’m glad that tending your mom’s gardens will give you peace. I am so sorry for your loss.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Thanks, Cammee.

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Janel May 8, 2012 at 12:13 am

Oh, I so know what you mean when describing our mums home! Both my grandparents were master gardners. My mother and her siblings finally decided to sell the property due to many issues that made it not worth it to keep. It was agonizing to see it go! It housed so many if not all my childhood memories! We all took bulbs and plants so we could keep a little bit of them with us, it was the best we could do. My grandmothers chocolate irises have just finished their blooms. The poppies are well on their way. I am heartsick at times knowing the property will never be the same and I fear forgetting the things that made it sing to me.

Good luck on your journey! And thanks for sharing this awesome opportunity!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I love that you transplanted some of your grandparent’s plants. That keeps their legacy and your memories alive. And, how about what a big job it is to become a Master Gardener. I had no idea.
Thanks for posting and those iris sound amazing!

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Shelly May 8, 2012 at 1:08 am

Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us. I was raised by my single mother. It was just she and I my whole life and recently she not only found out she has early Alzheimer’s but she just was told her liver is also failing. This has been a shock for us since she’s only 63 years old…young in my eyes (I’m 35). I’ve loved reading your article in House Beautiful (especially the garden design) and have actually used it as inspiration for our own home reno. Also, it was SUCH a pleasure meeting you in February at the Harbinger party during the Bloggers Conference! You were just as nice as I’d hoped you be. I wish you all the best in making your mothers’ home, your home. But also keeping her spirit alive in it!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Thanks, Shelly. I loved meeting you, too. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. 63 is too young! Enjoy her everyday. I hope we meet again soon.
ANnie

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Kelly May 8, 2012 at 1:11 am

Thank you for this beautiful, moving post. And the poem you wrote at the beginning is so fitting, a wonderful tribute.

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Danielle May 8, 2012 at 1:16 am

What a sweet tribute to your mother. I pray you will feel her close as you tend to the garden that brought her such joy.

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Dru May 8, 2012 at 2:26 am

When talking about life being a journey, the meaning of life IS the journey and not the destination. You are being pointed in a new direction from what you thought you were headed and embracing the challenges. This change brings “color” your life in new and unexpected ways.
Thank you for bringing us along on your journey. From you leading the way we can better adapt to the challenges placed on our path and meet them with the courage you have displayed.
I wish you success and take comfort that your mother is alongside you each step of the way!

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Andrea E. May 8, 2012 at 6:50 am

Your poem is beautiful. I love your cherished memories and know your mother’s memory is alive and well within YOU!

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amy@maison decor May 8, 2012 at 7:39 am

Hi Annie~! I came over from Linda’s Surroundings blog~us Massachusetts girls stick together! I’ve read about your ranch burger and am happy to see your blog. I love your style and those rugs are my favs….I would love to carry them in my shop. Please enter me for the giveaway.

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kiki May 8, 2012 at 7:54 am

Hang in there! I closed up the home that had been in our family for over 50 years when my mom passed away. My grandmother had lived there, then my parents…so many memories. One of my aunts gave me the best advice when I was struggling with the clean out. She said all of those “things” were just things, special to my parents, but not meant to be my “things”. They would have wanted me to keep only what was special to me, and let go of everything else. For some reason, that absolved me of the guilt I felt for letting things go…hope that helps! Also, this week, we’re closing up my husband’s family home of 48 years. Evidently, longevity in homes is a wonderful tradition in our family. Here’s to starting new traditions and forming new memories. Good luck!

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Lilia May 8, 2012 at 7:54 am

Thank you for the reminder to always appreciate you mother and to be grateful for all the special bonds only a mom and daughter can share

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Christine May 8, 2012 at 8:07 am

sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman to be able to pass all those wonderful traits on. I credit my own mom with many of my own traits too. Wishing you the best as you move forward in these new beginnings.
thanks for sharing and for the opportunity.
I’ve been drooling over your striped rugs, yes all of them, for years. The simple causal fun elegance of them is unmatched. Thanks and best wishes.

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Debbie York May 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

Annie,
Robelyn from Red.neck Chic sent me over and I now will be going back to tell her thank you…right after I thank you.
With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I find myself missing my own mother as I too lost her as she slept. Reading your words, feeling every emotion you shared, I got caught up in my memories as well as yours. Thank you for sharing a personal piece of your heart.
I can’t think of a lovelier way to honor her and her life than what you are doing…living and creating out loud.
Debbie
Debbie

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Kelly May 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

What a wonderful tribute to your mom and your relationship with her. I hope that you’ll find great joy in remembering her through her home and gardens. I can’t wait to peek in on your progress…

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Kristin May 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

I commend you for keeping your mom’s house and garden. I know that I would do the same if I were in your shoes. I look forward to seeing your work.

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Lorrie May 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

Living in the home that your mom created and keeping her gardens growing is a wonderful tribute to her. I too look forward on reading about the progress you have made and hopefully seeing pictures of the gardens. Your story in inspiring to those that have lost their mom or even a special person, my mom past almost 11 years ago and in my life I try very hard to do some of the things she did to always keep her memory alive to others in my family.

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Gail May 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

What a beautiful story of the wonderfilled love a mother and daughter share. I’m hoping the house and gardens are your mother’s last gift to you..full of love and endless possibilities and memories. Hoping you feel her joy and presence with you along the way.

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Jan Molberg May 8, 2012 at 9:51 am

Everyone goes through the loss of parents..but that knowledge makes it no less painful..all my best to you and your family..the memories you have are so precious..they help to keep the loved one alive in your heart..best thoughts Jan M.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I know it is a universal inevitability, but, boy, it just throws you for a loop, doesn’t it? Thanks for posting.

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Regina May 8, 2012 at 10:04 am

Those of us who have lost our mothers can relate, thank you for sharing your story!

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Jen Fogel May 8, 2012 at 10:42 am

Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories. ~Dr. SunWolf
May you savor the memories of your mother each day you are on your knees in your (her) garden.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I hope to be on my knees in the garden soon. Thanks, Jen.

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Stesse May 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

A lovely tribute to your mum. Thanks for sharing. (And a great blog as well – just discovered it and loving it!)

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Stesse, come back soon and often! Thanks, for posting.

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Vickie Kolpin May 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

What a beautiful tribute to your mother.

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Anne May 8, 2012 at 11:49 am

What a beautiful and heartfelt post. Your mother would be proud.

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diana May 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

what a wonderful way to remember your mother

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Robyn Pope May 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Annie~
Just found your lovely blog and I love the name !! Noticed that gardenrooms is on your blog roll. Thank you for that, I am honored.
Love this story about your Mother’s house and her garden. Hoping that my daughters will remember the gardens they grew up in and around. All the best to you and your new/old house.
~ Robyn

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Thanks, Robyn. I am sure your daughters are storing all kinds of wonderful garden memories as we speak.

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Kim May 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What a glorious tribute to your precious mother! It will be exciting to see where your journey with her house will take you. I especially loved the inclusion of the snowdrop. It is so meaningful to discover the circle of life is eternal.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Aren’t snow drops the best? Always the first to brave the elements!

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Heather Petersen May 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Thank you for sharing your personal story with us, I look forward to reading your daily posts.

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Jen Byron May 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Just found your lovely blog thru House of Turquoise… Love the “ranch burger” house….

good luck to all

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Linda k May 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

This is my first time to your blog, and I was very moved by your tribute to your mother and I love your outlook! Thank you.

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Thanks, Linda.

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Barb Dickson May 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Just read your blog for the first time….was very touched having lost my own mother. I just happened to find your stores while doing “college shopping” with my middle child five years ago. He graduates next Monday! Since then I have made several day trips up your way from Connecticut and have never been disappointed. Once managing to fit a beautiful Chaise lounge in the back of my car for my daughters bedroom. So glad I happened upon your site today. Best of luck on your new project…I followed the last one and truly enjoyed it!

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annieselke May 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Thanks to another chaise lounge – a – holic! Which one did you get? I am such a sucker for chaises. I think just having it in a room makes you think you relaxed even if you didn’t! Congrats on your son’s graduation. My Charlotte is headed to college this fall.
Our next tent sale is Memorial Day weekend – road trip?

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Serena May 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I am so sorry about your beloved mum. What a wonderful legacy she left for you and your family in many, many ways. I hope the gardens nurture you in your journey. I loved reading about your other “new” home in HB, and I look forward to reading the next chapters in your story. All the best to you, Annie. P.S. Love your design eye!

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Laura May 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Just found your website and I look forward to following it. Your colors inspire me.

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Liz lopez May 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

What a wonderful tribute to your mom. My heart goes out to you.

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lulu May 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm

What a heartfelt tribute to your mother. As a long-time fan of your work, I am so happy to have discovered this blog and look forward to continuing with you on this journey.

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Mary May 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Such a beautiful story!
I had a similar experience when updating and redecorating my mom’s beloved 2nd home after she died.
I must say that it is still hard for me to go there without wondering if I did the right thing by changing the place she loved so much.

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Patty Hendrix May 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Memories keep our loved ones alive in our hearts. You are blessed to be able to maintain your mother’s gardens and live in her home. God bless!

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Robyn May 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hi Annie,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my “Mama” (my aunt who raised me) in October. Before we knew that she was sick, she gave me all of her beloved things, furniture, Longaberger basket collection, and china. When she died, I thought that I would be saddened to have all of her lovely things, but to my surprise, I feel her presence when I see them. They are fond reminders of all that she loved, and I feel privileged to have them and someday hand them down to my children. Mama also was an avid gardener, and loved all flowers, especially roses and gardenias. I have many roses in my garden. I used to plant gardenias to give to her as cut flowers, this year I will plant them to remember her by. I hope that your memories of your wonderful mother bring you happiness, not tears. She has made you who you are, and who you will be, and that is to be celebrated! Take care and God bless you and your family, Robyn

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gloria May 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I have found two new friends today, you and our friend at Surroundings. Looking forward to sharing your adventures.

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Courtney May 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Beautiful. Such grace and beauty in your tribute and in your mother. I can only imagine the bittersweet feelings that her blooming garden must give you.

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Debra May 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Reading your story brought back memories of my grandmother. She had a beautiful garden. People would stop by the side of the road just to take a closer look at her amazing work. When my grandmother died, I was given her library table where she kept her pots of violets. Seeing her table brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. I hope you find the same in the memories of your mother’s home and gardens.

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Cherie May 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Your beautiful post struck and nerve and I know how emotional this process can be. Your words are inspiring!

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Karen May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Just read your site for the first time… I love how a garden connects us to family, history and memories. I lost my mother when I was 8, but have pieces of her through beautiful perenniels that her mother and sister shared with me nearly 25 years ago. I now share them with my adult kids as they start their homes:)

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Mary May 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Just know that through the (sometimes overwhelming) emotional pain that goes hand in hand with sorting through a lifetime, your heart absorbs the very best of that lifetime. And though you definitely need to take breaks and wash the dusty remnants of sorrow from your hands, the glitter of that life stays with you. And when all is said and done, when piles have been made, things claimed, recycled or discarded…and when the tears have lessened and begun to dry, you start to really feel the joy that is your mom, and the life you created and shared together. Now, just imagine using that joy as your inspiration to expand the house into a new era of memory making. Enjoy…indeed!

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Victoria Athens May 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Bittersweet is the right word. Tending your mother’s garden will bring back many lovely memories of what she loved and what she did so well. I lost my mother 9 years ago and my husband 11 years ago. The hurt never goes away; you never stop missing them, but eventually the lovely memories outnumber and outweigh the sadness.

As for me, I look forward to seeing her garden mature and endure.

All the best…Victoria

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Karen May 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm

So glad to get connected and subscribe to your blog. I was sent to you from
Surroundings- another terrific Massachusetts designer blog. I loved following
the transformation of your last home and look forward to seeing this one evolve. Your Mother must be smiling knowing her home and garden are now being
cared for by you! I look forward to sharing your journey with you through your blog. I’m a huge fan of all your products- I’ve eyed your rugs
for a while- imagining one in my family room.

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Missi @ havoc to heaven May 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Have you read the book “The Language of Flowers”? I think you would really like it since your mom had such a love of flowers.

I have loved your brands for years. I was introduced to Pine Cone Hill at Terry Parker’s Heirloom Iron Bed Company in Roswell, GA. They carry the most beautiful Pine Cone bedding. Terry’s daughter and wife are like family to me.

I am looking forward to following your amazing blog! Missi

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C Imrie May 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm

What a roller coaster of emotions you have been on.Keeping your Mum’s house is a decision of such proportion and impact. May you find her comfort in every corner and her love in the sunlight that pours through her windows.

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lilcg May 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm

what a beautiful story. my house was previously owned by a woman who built it with her husband as newlyweds. I never had a chance to meet her, but I feel I know her because of the beautiful garden that she left for me. I can imagine how wonderful, and bittersweet, it will be the first time your garden truly blooms again.

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susan May 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm

This is my first time reading your blog and I already feel as though I know you. I have been a huge fan of Dash and Albert and Pine Cone Hill designs for years. Your touching tribute you your dear mother meant a lot as well since my mom has passed on. I wish you well.

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dshanks May 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Our parents give us so much. Thanks for sharing. And I can’t wait to see the garden in full bloom
Dshanks

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Susan Gosman May 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I am sorry for the loss of your dear mother. I honor your choice to keep her home and gardens alive and know you will derive much from a difficult decision.

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Victoria May 9, 2012 at 1:53 am

This was a very tender and moving post. My sympathies and empathies to you and your family as you embark on this new life journey. I remember losing five family members within a two year period. Overwhelming going through belongings and and feeling that bittersweet tug of wistfulness and grief for them. Many blessings to you for taking on your mother’s beloved garden. I pray you gain long days of comfort and growth and cannot wait to view the rewards of your endeavors. I believe in your hands, your mother’s garden and home will flourish and bring great joy. And what a very sweet way to begin again by giving so generously and gracefully!

Continued blessings,

Victoria Austin
vaustin08@gmail.com

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Crystal May 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

Annie –

Such a beautiful, heart-felt post. So glad I found your blog thanks to Erin at House of Turquoise. I’ve known and loved your products for a while. It’s so nice to “meet” the person behind the brand.
Many blessings, Crystal

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Nadine morrow May 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Let’s all acknowledge the love that the ranch burger deserves. The living is easy in a ranch burger. Wishing you the best in your endeavor.

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Pat Shevlin May 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Hi Annie,
I have your indoor/outdoor apple green chevron on the floor of my weekend house after seeing on your floor while following you during your reno on House Beautiful. I am a color lover and love your colors. Ordered zigzag for my newly renovated kitchen as a runner. Not sure I will be able to let anyone in with feet!

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Pat Shevlin May 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I just blogged myself about my mother timely ahead of Mothers Day. She passed away at the end of May last year so this is going to be a different day for me and my siblings. I keep my memories of her close – especially now – as I loved gardening with her. Thank you for sharing.

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Gaye Inman May 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

What a wonderful tribute to your talented gardener Mom. I hope I can follow every step of the renovations inside and out. What an admirable project to take on-the best of everything in this step in your life’s journey.
Gaye Inman

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Rita May 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

What a beautiful and sweet testament to your mom. I choose to believe that she knows what is in your heart and the struggle you went through in making your decision. No matter what your ultimate decision would have been, she appreciates the thought and care that went into it.

I am so happy that I found your blog via House of Turquoise. I’ve been following your path in House Beautiful for a couple of years now.

Thanks for this opportunity!

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Lynn Ogburn May 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

What a lovely tribute to your dear mother! You were very blessed to share so much with her and now to continue watching over her creations. Embrace the old but don’t be stuck…she would want you to continue to bloom so make your own mark on the house.

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Susann May 10, 2012 at 8:33 am

Oh, Annie…my mother died several years ago and I miss her very day! You are giving her the supreme compliment by tending her house and garden!

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Colette Waldowski May 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Annie, I am so sorry to read of your mother’s passing. I am sure tomorrow will be a very hard day as it is Mother’s Day. You have been an inspiration for me for many years as I have had your rug’s on my floors and your beautiful linens on my bed’s for many years. I have sold your products in retail stores (Store manager for Que Sera in Edina, MN) and I have now been blessed to be hired as a sales rep for your wonderful products with Codarus and will be covering Minnesota, effective June 1! I have never been as excited as I am right now, to work for a Company that has such beautiful products. I also appreciate a Company with dedication to customer service and your mission statement. I have also felt a bond with you since my life revolves around two Cocker Spaniels and I cannot stop looking at your gorgeous dog’s and wanting to know more about them! I look forward to meeting you in the near future and representing your brand:)

Colette Waldowski

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Melissa September 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

Hi Annie,

I came across your site this morning as I was viewing your beautiful fabrics. I’m in the midst of a divorce and am in the process of selecting new and vibrant colors for a couple of pieces of furniture I wish to have recovered for my new “smaller” home. I remember reading about your journey in House Beautiful in 2010. You touched me then and you’ve touched me now. Bless you and thank you for sharing your wonderful words about your dear Mother.

Melissa

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Joan Hughes March 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

One click to another on FB and somehow I found myself reading your blog and viewing your photos. You drew me in captured my heart. I am a gardener, not a master gardener like your mom. As the snow falls to almost a foot tonight the thought of spring tomorrow gives me hope . My mom is suffering from dementia and the sadness is overwhelming. I would only hope to have a house of hers with gardens to fill me with excitement, joy and wonder. You’ve done the right thing and I am confident you will never regret your move. I look forward to your blogs and more photos from your gardens courtesy of your mom’s joyous efforts. She would be so pleased.

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Katie Flanagan March 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I love the remembrance of your mother, very sweet. We are all so lucky to have our mom be our first friend and our best friend.

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